Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekend Review


1. Texas Tech. I mentioned last week that I was curious to find out if the whole run and gun by Texas Tech was a mirage or if they were a legit title contender, and Saturday’s win over #1 Texas showed that they are definitely worth mentioning. I think both of the teams I’m going to talk about right after this are better than they are, but a win over the #1 ranked team in the country is still a huge win, even if they play like crap and still almost beat you. A semi-miraculous dropped interception by Texas following a complete Tech collapse gave them new life, and Graham Harrell took advantage hitting Michael Crabtree, who is an absolute monster, for a TD to give the Red Raiders a 39-33 win, and probably jumping them up to #3 in the polls.

2. USC. Lest you thought an early season loss to Oregon State would knock the Trojans out of national title contention, they have done more than enough the last few weeks to serve notice that they are very much one of the top teams in the country. The beat up on Washington this week, winning 56-0 after leading 42-0 at halftime, just two weeks after thumping Washington State 69-0 after a 41-0 start by half. In between those games they travelled to 5-2 Arizona and knocked off the Wildcats 17-10. I don’t know if the defenses in the Pac 10 are just terrible or if Mark Sanchez is really that good, but he’s been carving people up this season, to the tune of 15 TDs vs. 5 INTs (3 in one game) in Pac play. The Trojans may very well be the best team in college football right now.

3. Florida. If it isn’t USC, it may very well be the Gators. Currently ranked 5th, they made a statement in a very big way, going into Georgia to face the #8 Bulldogs and walking out with a 49-10 victory that was only that close because of a garbage touchdown Georgia scored late. I’m not entirely certain what to make of Tim Tebow. Obviously with his size, strength, and speed he can dominate a game, and is pretty much a TD machine, like against Georgia this weekend he rushed for three scores and passed for two more. I’m just not sure what’s going to happen NFL-wise. In any case, with this win over Georgia and a 51-21 massacre over #4 at the time LSU, the Gators have a good argument that they are the #1 team in the land.

4. Bernard Berrian? I'm really kind of unsure about this one. On the one hand, he's scored in four straight games and made a couple of really, really nice catches yesterday. On the other hand, he had one ball where he was in the corner of the end zone and seemed to have no clue where he was and didn't get his feet in bounds, and he had another one where he pulled an Eric Decker and let it go right through his hands straight to a defender. But still, four straight games with a TD? We'll put him here for now.

5. College Basketball. No, not this weekend, but everything kicks off tonight, baby, and I couldn't be more excited. Sure, it's exhibition ball, but it will be nice to see some college hoops highlights on sportscenter and get away from the constant barrage of homoerotica that is football.


1. Gopher Football. Some things never change, right? Despite a hugely successful season thus far, it’s not even surprising that the Gophers lost on an interception return for a TD with 12 seconds left in a tie game on a ball that was perfectly thrown to the Big Ten’s leading receiver who let it go right through his hands, off a defender’s facemask, and into another defender’s hands. I figured there was no way they were going 11-1 and their lofty ranking was a bit of a mirage, but when you lose at least lose at Wisconsin or to Iowa, this was embarrassing. They had plenty of opportunities to win this game, but a stagnant offense and the inability to stop backup Northwestern QB Mike Kafka, who underwent a metamorphosis (note the awkward literary joke here) into Tim Tebow for the afternoon. This doesn’t exactly ruin the season or anything, since you’d pretty much have to be delusional to think they were BCS bound, but it just announces that things are pretty much status quo with Minnesota football. Thank god basketball starts today.

2. South Florida. What a weird team to figure out. Two seasons ago they kind of made their “We have arrived” statement by knocking off #7 West Virginia at West Virginia the last game of the season, then won the bowl behind super awesome do it all quarterback Matt Grothe. Then last season, they come out of the gates on fire, starting off 6-0 including wins over #17 Auburn and #5 West Virginia, and ended up ranked all the way to #5. Immediately after they completely imploded, losing three in a row to Rutgers, UCONN, and Cincinnati and ended up in the Sun Bowl instead of anything meaningful, where they got crushed by Oregon. This year, they once again started off on fire, going 5-0 with a win over #13 Kansas and getting them ranked tenth. Same pattern held, as they have now dropped three out of the last four to inferior competition, culminating in Thursday nights embarrassing loss to Cincinnati (not technically the weekend but whatever). Once again the Bulls find themselves heading towards some insignificant bowl rather than anything even within sniffing distance of the BCS games. Grothe is a junior at this point, so they have one more chance to get it right.

3. Michigan. It’s not exactly breaking news here that Michigan football sucks this season, but since they lost to Purdue Saturday that guarantees them a losing season, which warrants mentioning. The 48-42 loss, on a sweet hook-and-ladder play, drops the Wolverines to 2-7 overall, meaning they will end up finishing under .500 and will not be playing in a bowl game for the first time in the last 34 seasons. My, how the mighty have fallen. Between the collapse of the football program and the total suckitude of the basketball team since the Fab Five left has their ever been an athletic program in such a free fall? Granted, Indiana basketball is on it’s way, but for now, the Wolverines need to be considered as the biggest collapse in the history of the world, at least since the Gophers/Texas Tech bowl game. At least Brandon Minor looks pretty good.

4. Kansas City Chiefs. Oooooof. Brutal. They looked like they were cruising to win #2 on the season, with a 24-3 (including a TD pass TO Tyler Thigpen) lead with 2 minutes to go in the first half. They then gave up a kick return for a TD and a FG in those final two minutes, and still managed to have a lead until Tampa scored a TD from Jeff Garcia to Antonio Bryant with 19 seconds left and converted the 2-point try, and then won in overtime. Dwayne "The Show" Bowe deserves much, much better.

5. Detroit Lions. Sure, it's getting a little redundant putting them here, but yesterday was a special occasion that was quite similar to the above Kansas City paragraph. Except they were looking for their first win, and only had a 10 point lead on the Bears at half, but had knocked starting QB Kyle Orton out of the game, which is surprisingly a bad thing for the Bears this season. Except enter Rex Grossman, he of the career 32/34 TD to INT ratio, and he marched them up and down the field, throwing for one TD and running for another and saving my hopes in our Survivor Pick'em. Calvin "Megatron" Johnson deserves much, much better.